Apple Inc. (AAPL), The Walt Disney Company (DIS): A Trio Of Things That Can Go Right in 2013

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I’m an optimist at heart. Two weeks ago, I looked at three things that can go wrong later this year, but let’s look at the other half of the glass this time. There are plenty of opportunities for things to work out well for investors yet this year.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Apple can innovate again
The market is hungry for something new.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Earlier this week, industry tracker IDC reported that worldwide tablet shipments clocked in at 45.1 million. That’s an impressive 60% pop over the past year, but a major contributor is the influx of dirt cheap Android tablets. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)‘s iPad actually fell — in terms of both the number of units and the average selling price — for the period.

The news gets worse, and for more than just Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). As solid as moving more than 45 million tables may seem, this is in truth a nearly 10% sequential decline. Smartphones are still growing, but the market clearly is hungry for something new. Is there a better company out there than Apple to scratch that itch?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is ready to flex its innovation muscles. CEO Tim Cook has promised that new products are coming as early as this fall, and we may be looking at more than just the long overdue iPhone and iPad updates. Whether Apple is cooking up smart watches, HDTVs, or perhaps something entirely surprising in the realm of wearable computing, raising the bar with a new product category at a time when the economy’s starting to show signs of life is a great way to get consumers to spend again.

2. The video-game industry can bounce back
It’s been four years of declines for the video-game industry, but that may change as the Xbox One and PS4 hit the market.

With so many mainstream gamers settling for cheaper and less intense digital diversions on their mobile gadgetry, it’s easy to dismiss the chances for a turnaround. It also doesn’t help that the first entry in this generation of gaming consoles — Wii U — has been a disaster, selling a mere 160,000 units this past quarter.

However, there’s an unlikely savior here in The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). The family-entertainment giant is rolling out Disney Infinity next weekend, taking the genre that Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) succeeded in two years ago with a surprising sleeper hit in Skylanders, but exploding it into the mainstream by introducing Disney’s beloved characters into the mix.

These aren’t just video games that The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) are putting out. Disney Infinity and Skylanders introduce collectible figurines with RFID chips that interact with the software to send the chosen characters into their virtual worlds. It’s a video game, sure. It’s also a toy with a hook for collectors, opening the video-game market to a lot of young gamers who may have been growing up asking Mommy for the iPad whenever they wanted to play something.

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